NYU Abu Dhabi Teaches 28 Core Classes in the Countdown to COP28

Fall 2023 will see 28 core classes sustainability-driven courses taught as part of the University’s commitment to the environment.

As part of fall 2023’s Core Curriculum, faculty at NYU Abu Dhabi are teaching 28 sustainability-driven classes in almost every field as part of the University’s contribution to support the UAE’s hosting of COP28.

The courses, being taught across a range of subjects, are providing resources to students to establish a culture of climate awareness and stewardship that will help drive the next generation of sustainable growth. 

Drawing on the methodologies of 21st-century disciplines across our four divisions of Arts and Humanities, Engineering, Science, and Social Science, Core courses help NYUAD students address worldwide challenges such as justice, health, sustainability, and more.  

While our focus on sustainability and finding innovative solutions to address issues goes beyond COP28, we want to highlight some of the 28 core curriculum courses taught at NYUAD that show the depth of these courses.

Garden of Eden
NYUAD’s Vice Chancellor Mariët Westermann’s Garden of Eden course explores the garden as a major art form by focusing on pictorial and spatial representations of the Garden of Eden while also examining gardens in ancient Mesopotamia, Medieval Christanity, Arabian courtyards, and more. The course includes field trips and concludes with a collaborative garden design project in Abu Dhabi.

Water for Life
Professor of Engineering and Director of NYUAD Water Research Center Nidal Hilal’s Water for Life course takes on a multidisciplinary approach to the connections between water and society, including scientific, social, and economic perspectives. Students are asked to consider and address questions such as how human actions affect water-related ecosystems, advances made in water harvesting and desalination, and the role the water industry plays in job creation.

Encompassing Nature
Professor of Practice of Literature and Creative Writing Charles Siebert and Visiting Associate Professor of Practice, Literature and Creative Writing Tishani Vinod Doshi will get students to look at the multivarious ways in which human beings across time and different cultures have addressed questions such as What is nature? Are consciousness and the singular ability to name the inhabitants of the "natural" world the very things that distance and separate us from that world? The course discussed how through mythology, religion, philosophy, poetry, music, the visual arts, fiction, or nonfiction - deep down, humans know we want to "encompass nature", and be a part of. 

Where the City Meets the Sea: Studies in Coastal Urban Environments
With over half of the human population living within 100km of a coast, and coastlines contain more than two-thirds of the world’s largest cities, Associate Professor of Biology John Burt gets students to examine the environmental and ecological implications of urban development in coastal areas. Using data from multiple coastal cities, student teams use field-based studies and Geographic Information System (GIS) data to examine patterns and processes operating in coastal cities. Using local terrestrial, marine, and built environments as a laboratory to address these issues, these field work forms a core component of the learning experience.

Responsible Capitalism
Visiting Associate Professor of Business, Organizations and Society Simone de Colle, uses this course to get students to understand the interplay between ethics and capitalism. Asking questions like what is responsible capitalism, and can a corporation be responsible under the incentives generated by the current capitalist system, as well as reading contributions from ethics, economics, entrepreneurship, law and psychoanalysis, students will present and develop their own understanding of Responsible Capitalism and will critically examine ongoing business practices.